As we know, the Swabian can do anything - except High German and boredom. Here are our highlights from an exciting city between spaetzle, sports cars and castle romance:
Not so often that such a Castle Square is almost more important than the castle itself. In Stuttgart, that is the case. Its central location in the pedestrian zone and its romantic, expansive aura make Stuttgart's Schlossplatz a meeting place for strollers, chilling students or acrobatically ambitious artists, who are constantly on the move here. Of course, the Schlossplatz also thrives on its setting: The old and the new palace, the art museum at the Kleiner Schlossplatz and the imposing jubilee column from 1841 in honor of Wilhelm I are the venerable backdrops of the square, which, however, is also sometimes used for secular-political purposes: Almost all major demonstrations against the Stuttgart 21 project ended on Stuttgart's most popular square.
If one takes the bare visitor figures as proof, then the Stuttgart Zoo, the Wilhelma, the most popular zoo in Germany after the Berlin Zoo. A total of about 11,000 animals and 1,200 species of animals live in the zoo, which was built between 1842 and 1853 partly as a Moorish garden in the Stuttgart district of Bad Cannstatt. The special feature of the Wilhelma: The almost 30-hectare site is not only an animal show, but also a botanical garden with 160 species of trees and a variety of plants, for example orchids, fuchsias, camellias and azaleas. As befits a zoo that attracts a million and a half people a year, the gastronomic offer is also considerable: the Amazonica offers exotic dishes from the lava grill as well as Swabian specialties.
Stuttgart is a car city with two very big names: Mercedes Benz and Porsche have their noble carriages manufactured in Stuttgart and in this way noticeably influence the social and aesthetic life of the Swabian valley metropolis. No wonder that each of the two global companies treats itself to its own museum: Porsche opened its doors in Zuffenhausen in 2009 and is displaying nearly 100 of its sleek bodies there. There is also an interactive concept so that visitors can experience and hear the roaring sports cars in motion. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in turn is an eye-catcher from the outside alone. The museum's imposing building was designed by the Dutch architectural firm Ben van Berkel. Inside, there are more than 160 vehicles on nine levels - a lot of Mercedes in a small space. The Mercedes-Benz Museum is by far the most visited museum in Stuttgart.
Even ridicule has to be earned: When 17 European architects and artists built the hypermodern Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart-Killesberg in 1927 - as part of the Werkbund exhibition "The Dwelling" - the result was popularly referred to as either "the suburbs of Jerusalem" or "Swabian Morocco." After the war, only 11 of the once 21 buildings remained. Today, they are listed as historic monuments and are the destination of numerous visitors who admire the ensemble created under the direction of Mies van der Rohe. In the fall of 2006, the Le Corbusier House - the only house in the estate open to the public - was the location of the Weissenhof Museumwhich, together with the neighboring house by Le Corbusier, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Cannstatter Wasen has been a large folk festival in the fall since 1818 - and was originally once an agricultural festival. That has changed, well: changed. Because of the many rides in Bad Cannstatt, people in Stuttgart like to say that the "Wasen" is the largest fairground festival in Europe. And 3.5 million visitors in 2019 are also impressive. The Munich Oktoberfest, however, just to put it in perspective, received over six million visitors in 2019. Otherwise, however, you can confidently assume that you'll get your money's worth and a proper party rush in Stuttgart, too, if you appreciate such amusements. In 2021, the Cannstatter Wasen starts on September 24 and ends on October 10. For those who prefer a more sedate atmosphere, Bad Cannstatt is also the place to be outside the Wasen season. Wine tour book
The cubic building cube alone is worth a look: The new building of the Art Museum Stuttgart of 2005 on Schlossplatz was not without controversy. But this is more often the case with buildings in public spaces that do not fit into their surroundings at first glance and immediately: At Art Museum itself features around 20,000 exhibits by artists such as Dieter Roth and Markus Lüpertz, as well as what is probably the world's largest Otto Dix collection. The successful concept of the house is rounded off by the fine cuisine in the "Cube" glass house with a view over Stuttgart. Equally modern and masterful against the Mainstream The extension building of the State Gallery by the architect James Stirling, which is one of the highlights of postmodernism in Germany. On display in the museum: painting and sculpture since the time of the High Middle Ages.
More info about art in Stuttgart is available here.
Eating better in a "Schöner Wohnen" ambience is the motto for the Market Hall in Stuttgart. Anyone who has time for a little trip to the paradise of Swabian and international delicacies should be happy here: The bright Art Nouveau building - built in 1914 - in the center of Stuttgart alone is worth a visit and a photo. In the hall, 33 traders wait at their stands with regional and international, often organic specialties for the inclined clientele. Of course, you can also dine on the spot: Whether Italian (Gallery), Swabian traditional cuisine (Marktstüble) or tapas bar - no one has to go home hungry here. The fact that the market hall calls itself most beautiful market hall in Germany is forgiven for celebrating. We don't know them all, but we suspect that this white giant really doesn't have much competition.
Even during the day, the rococo magnificent building shows its most splendid side - the curved exterior staircase alone creates the feeling of luxury and power. In fact, the hunting lodge and country palace is considered one of the most popular destinations in Stuttgart, due in part to the unique murals or halls such as the Marble Hall, the Red Cabinet and the Palm Room. A guided tour is recommended to take in the many charms inside this palace - just under 10 kilometers outside the city center. Other motives are behind the popular Night tour at Solitude Castle. A special experience between creepiness, romance, tragedy and humor is promised during a 90-minute guided tour. The only light source: flashlights. Well, if Hui Buh, the castle ghost, doesn't show up ...
More info about Schloss Solitude is available here.
As a village within a village, the Bean Quarter sometimes referred to with affectionate derision. It was built in the 15th century as the first residential quarter outside Stuttgart's city walls and - hence the name - was mainly inhabited by poor people who grew beans in front of their houses. Today the Bean Quarter as a mixture of upscale residential area and attraction of an alternative public, which fills the numerous junk stores, pubs and restaurants with life. The most striking feature of the Bean Quarter is probably the Shell Tower the last tower preserved from the city wall. A good thing - today it houses an excellent restaurant with Swabian cuisine of a high standard. Other gastronomic points of interest: To the box, the oldest wine tavern in town with a tiled stove and ancestral gallery. Or The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a boutique hotel with fine cuisine (one Guide Michelin star) and its own cooking school.
Take the train to Stuttgart comfortably and without traffic jams: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: The center of Schlossplatz: From here, the New Palace, the Art Museum, the market halls and the bean district can be reached quickly © SMG/ Werner Dieterich
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